Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Design and Evaluation of Notification User Interfaces

Submission deadline April 1, 2002


Notification systems attempt to deliver current, important information to the computer screen in an efficient and effective manner. All notification systems require that the user attend to them to at least some degree if they are to succeed. Examples of notification systems include instant messaging systems, system and user status updates, email alerts, and news and stock tickers. The benefits of notification systems are numerous, including rapid availability of important information, access to nearly instantaneous communication, and heightened awareness of the availability of personal contacts. While the popularity of these systems has skyrocketed in recent years, the effects of incoming notifications on ongoing computing tasks have been relatively unexplored.

The investigation of the costs, benefits and optimal display of instant messages and all notifications in the context of desktop or mobile computing tasks falls in the general arena of psychological research on alerting and disruption, but also requires research contributions from design, computer science and information visualization. To date, much of the psychological research on interruption leverages abstract or theoretical task constructions. In this special issue we would like to focus on the nature of interruptions such as messaging on computer, PDA and cell phone users, and how to optimize their design.

Issues of interest include:

         The costs and benefits of notifications to ongoing work

         Validated design guidelines for optimal notification display

         Empirical studies of task switching between notifications and ongoing work

         Examinations of how the nature of the notification or the ongoing work influences work flow

         Novel notification designs for peripheral awareness

         Intelligent system design for optimizing work flow with notifications

         Ethnographic studies of users and messaging, including implications for design

         Psychological or social factors influencing notification delivery and receipt

Submission Procedures:

We invite submissions on these and related topics to a special issue of IJHCS on the optimal design of notifications. Papers are solicited on an open call basis. The special issue will aim to address all the relevant disciplinary perspectives and contributions from any theoretical orientation or approach are welcomed.

Full paper submissions should be in the IJHCS format.

See also the IJHCS web page at and information for authors page at

All submitted papers will be peer reviewed by three referees drawn from a committee of experts in this domain and submitting authors.

Manuscripts should be sent electronically to Mary Czerwinski at:

Important dates:

         Deadline for papers April 1, 2002

         Notifications of acceptance June 15,2002

         Deadline for final draft August 1, 2002

Guest Editors:

Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft Research

Lyn Bartram, Simon Fraser University/Colligo Networks, Inc.

Scott McCrickard, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


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